Buccaneers 5-Time Pro Bowler Predicted to Bolt for Super Bowl Contender

Ndamukong Suh

Getty Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (right) remains a free agent.

The longer Ndamukong Suh remains a free agent, the less likely it appears that the star defensive tackle will return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell offered his predictions for 10 of the top remaining free agents and forecasted that Suh would end up signing with the Browns.

“Suh might not be the two-way force we saw during his time with the Lions, and the Bucs were careful to reduce his snap rate down from 77% in 2019 to 63% this past season, but he’s still a reliable interior disruptor,” Barnwell wrote on May 12, 2022. “The man just doesn’t get hurt; Suh hasn’t missed a single game due to injury as a pro across 12 campaigns.

“With Logan Hall taking his spot in Tampa Bay, getting Suh to Cleveland would make sense for both parties. Re-signing edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney to play alongside Suh would be a logical follow-up.”

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Suh Has Drawn Interest From the Browns, Raiders & Bucs in Free Agency: Report

Suh’s days as a superstar defensive tackle are likely behind him as the Bucs defender earned an underwhelming 61.8 grade last season from Pro Football Focus. The veteran notched six sacks, 27 tackles and 13 quarterback hits during his 17 appearances in 2021.

The five-time Pro Bowler can still add a lot to a team’s defensive line, especially if they opt to use Suh in a rotation with other veterans. There may be some truth to Barnwell’s prediction as 247Sports’ Brad Stainbrook reported that the Browns and Raiders are two of the top contenders attempting to entice Suh to leave Tampa Bay. Stainbrook also mentioned that the Buccaneers are still “in the mix” to re-sign the defensive tackle.

“The Browns have had interest in five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh at times this offseason,” Stainbrook detailed on May 15. “The Browns, Raiders, and Buccaneers are teams in the mix for Suh, a league source told TheOBR.com.”

With former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles taking over as the Bucs head coach, it was expected that Tampa would make a strong push to retain Suh. Yet, the Buccaneers have been unable to re-sign Suh despite free agency beginning more than two months ago.

Suh Dropped a Hint About Re-Signing With the Bucs in March

Suh helped fuel rumors that he would be rejoining the Buccaneers after sending a cryptic tweet congratulating Bowles for the promotion. The defensive lineman added that the team felt “one man light on talent.”

“Congrats to Todd Bowles on becoming head coach of a great team that still feels one man light on talent 👀,” Suh tweeted on March 31.

Suh signed a lucrative one-year, $9 million contract with the Bucs last offseason, but it would be a surprise if he landed a similar salary for 2022. Heading into free agency, PFF projected Suh would sign a one-year, $5 million deal as the No. 199 ranked free agent.

Tampa Bay has clearly made contingency plans in the event that the team is unable to re-sign Suh. The Buccaneers selected Houston defensive tackle Logan Hall at No. 33, their first pick in the 2022 draft. According to Over the Cap, the Bucs still have an estimated $12.1 million in remaining cap space, which potentially leaves the door open for Suh to return if he is unable to find a sizable deal in Cleveland, Las Vegas or elsewhere.

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